God bless those Americans

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We were confronted by one of the biggest ‘first world problems’ of all-time last week: people being angry about massive retail sales because it was part of a concept that came out of America.

I’ve never seen people so upset about saving money.

Twitter was, unsurprisingly, where most of the offence was being taken.
Broadcaster Mike Carlton angry tapped out: “What is all this Black Friday crap? My email inbox is swamped with it. I delete the lot.”

I guess that’s what happened back in May when all of Mike’s mates deleted the ALP how-to-vote cards.

“We don’t need to be copying America at all, and for us it is inappropriate,” said on Tweeter.

Inappropriate to save money. We demand more profits for retailers!

“It is the further Americanisation of people in this country,” said another, angry that the term ‘G’day Mate’ may soon be banned.

This whole ‘Americanisation’ anger, which also pops up around Halloween, is really so very silly.

After all, we flock to American movies, we gleefully hand over our cash to Netflix (an American company) every month to watch more American content and most of the music we buy and stream is, you guessed it, draped in the red, white and blue.

Millions of us have iPhones from Apple (I don’t know why though – make the switch to Samsung and you’ll never look back), computers from HP and, perhaps to our detriment, drink billions of litres of Coca-Cola every year.

Truth is, we love America.

Really, apart from their warped views on gun control, our buddies from the USA are pretty much just like us.

Yes, ‘Black Friday’ originated out of America. How good – an opportunity to pick up products you may have been saving for at a bargain price; a price you would be gleefully singing from the rooftops if you’d negotiated it yourself.

A couple of points here.

Firstly, you didn’t have to buy anything. I was at the shops on both Friday and Saturday and, incredibly, I didn’t see anyone at JB Hi-Fi being forced at gunpoint to buy a new TV.

Secondly, buying something in the Black Friday sales doesn’t mean you’re supporting the “infiltration of America” into Australia.

I can assure you, we’re not about to sing ‘The Star Spangled Banner on Australia Day’. Though it may get a run over on Triple J, who have very little to play on January 26 these days.

I can understand why some people were upset over the ‘Black Friday’ term, given the tag has been traditionally linked with the tragic bushfires in Victoria in 1939.

But we now live in a global economy and international retail environment. The term wasn’t going to be avoided, especially given how much we shop at American outlets online.

And just on that, had Australian retailers not jumped on the ‘Black Friday’ bandwagon, shoppers would have simply enjoyed buying products from American retailers on the web, in a further blow to the sluggish local retail sector. Australian shops simply had to adapt, or be left behind.

The truth is most of us talk big, but act small when it comes to supporting Australian retail, or small business.

Black Friday or not, if you could save $50 on a pair of shoes, you’d buy them online from the States. If you wouldn’t, you’re in the growing minority.

Price remains the number one driver in anything we buy, followed by convenience.

We like to shift the blame, of course, but in reality it’s largely our fault.

We can blame Woolworths and Coles for putting the local butcher out of business, but we’re the ones that buy our meat from the big supermarkets instead of the little guy. Sure, they probably bullied us into doing it, but we still did it.

I doubt much of the anger around Black Friday sales was all that legitimate.

The fake patriotism we like to show around these things is growing tired.

I love Australia as much as the next guy, but it doesn’t mean we can’t embrace traditions and concepts from elsewhere.

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